Nothing beats sinking your teeth into tender, juicy ribs that effortlessly fall off the bone. With the help of a slow cooker, you can achieve that melt-in-your-mouth perfection without any fuss.
Why You'll Love This Recipe
- Tender and Juicy - using a crock pot allows the ribs to become incredibly tender and juicy, as the low heat and long cooking time break down the connective tissues
- Convenience - once you've prepared the ribs and added them to the slow cooker, set it and forget it. No need for constant monitoring or tending to the stove.
- Year-Round Delight - ribs are often a summer barbecue favorite, but the slow cooker method allows you to enjoy them any time of the year.
- No Grill Required - don't have access to a grill or prefer not to use it? No worries. Achieve that classic barbecue taste and texture without firing up the grill or dealing with charcoal.
- Baby Back Ribs - the smaller size of baby back ribs allows them to fit easily into the slow cooker and ensures even cooking and consistent results
- Bbq Sauce - a key component in adding flavor, moisture, and a touch of tang to the ribs
- Brown Sugar - adds a natural sweetness to the ribs, which balances out the savory and smoky flavors. As the ribs cook, the brown sugar caramelizes, creating a rich and deep caramel flavor.
- Cajun Spice - a versatile blend of herbs and spices that adds a bold and zesty flavor profile
How to Make Slow Cooker Ribs
- Prepare the Ribs - start by removing the membrane from the back of the ribs. Use a knife to lift the edge of the membrane and then grip it with a paper towel to pull it off.
- Prepare Bbq Rub - in a small bowl, mix the brown sugar and cajun spice together.
- Apply - rub the dry mixture generously over both sides of the ribs, ensuring they are well coated.
- Arrange - pour half of the barbecue sauce into the bottom of the slow cooker. Place the seasoned ribs into the slow cooker, standing them up on their sides with the meaty side facing out. If necessary, cut the racks in half to fit. Pour the remaining barbecue sauce over the top of the ribs, ensuring they are well coated.
- Cook - cover the slow cooker and cook on low heat for 6-8 hours or on high heat for 3-4 hours. The low and slow method will result in the most tender ribs.
- Broil - once the cooking time is up, transfer ribs to a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Brush generously with the cooked barbecue sauce from the slow cooker. Place under the broiler for 3-4 minutes, or until the sauce caramelizes and becomes slightly charred. Rest for a few minutes before serving.
Best Bbq Sauce for Ribs
While homemade BBQ sauce is a delicious option, most of us buystore-bought BBQ sauces that work wonderfully with ribs. Here are a few popular choices:
- Sweet Baby Ray's Original Barbecue Sauce - offers a perfect balance of sweetness and tanginess. It has a rich, smoky flavor that complements the natural taste of ribs.
- Stubb's Original Bar-B-Q Sauce - known for its authentic Texas flavor, this sauce combines tangy, spicy, and smoky elements. It adds a bold and robust taste to your ribs.
- KC Masterpiece Original Barbecue Sauce - features a blend of tangy and sweet flavors with a hint of smokiness. It provides a well-rounded taste to enhance your ribs.
- Bull's-Eye Original Barbecue Sauce - boasts a rich, thick, and slightly tangy flavor. It has a touch of sweetness and a hint of smokiness, perfect for adding depth to your ribs.
- Cattlemen's Kansas City Classic - sweet and tangy flavors, thick consistency, captures the true essence of Kansas City-style barbecue.
Spices for Rib Rub
Cajun spice is a flavorful blend of herbs, spices, and seasonings and a tasty way to elevate the rib flavors. You can use any of your favorite spice blends, but here's a recipe to make your own Cajun spice:
- 2 tablespoons Paprika
- 1 tablespoon Garlic Powder
- 1 tablespoon Onion Powder
- 1 tablespoon dried Oregano
- 1 tablespoon dried Thyme
- 1 tablespoon dried Basil
- 1 tablespoon Cayenne Pepper (adjust to your desired level of spiciness)
- 1 tablespoon Black Pepper
- 1 tablespoon Salt
Slow Cooker Ribs Flavor Variations
Slow cooker ribs offer a versatile canvas for flavor variations, allowing you to experiment with different seasonings and ingredients to create unique and delicious taste profiles. Here are a few flavor variations you can try for your slow cooker ribs:
- Asian-Inspired: Create an Asian twist by marinating the ribs in a combination of soy sauce, ginger, garlic, honey, and a touch of sesame oil. This flavor combination will infuse the ribs with savory and slightly sweet notes, perfect for serving with steamed rice and stir-fried vegetables.
- Spicy and Smoky: For those who enjoy a bit of heat, add some smoky and spicy elements to your ribs. Use a combination of chipotle chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, and a hint of brown sugar for a flavorful and bold kick. The smokiness and spiciness will add depth and excitement to your ribs.
- Honey Mustard Glaze: Combine Dijon mustard, honey, apple cider vinegar, garlic, and a pinch of cayenne pepper for a tangy and sweet glaze. This variation creates a balance between tanginess and sweetness, resulting in ribs with a delightful and sticky honey mustard coating.
Recipe Tips and FAQs
- Choose Meaty Ribs - look for baby back ribs that have a good amount of meat on them. This will ensure a satisfying eating experience.
- Remove the Membrane - removing the thin membrane on the back of the ribs allows the flavors to penetrate the meat and results in tender ribs.
- Customize the Sauce - feel free to adjust the flavors of your barbecue sauce to your taste. Increase the heat with more cayenne pepper and spices or add a touch of sweetness with additional honey.
- Browning the Ribs - while broiling the ribs can be optional, it adds a nice caramelized finish to the sauce. It's worth the extra step if you want that BBQ restaurant look.
- Elevate Flavors - add a sliced onion to your slow cooker, Apple Cider or even Dr Pepper for more taste.
Can I Use Frozen Ribs in the Slow Cooker?
It is generally recommended to thaw the ribs before placing them in the slow cooker. Thawing allows for even cooking and helps the flavors to penetrate the meat more effectively. However, if you're short on time, you can cook frozen ribs in the slow cooker, but the cooking time will be longer, and the texture may not be as tender.
How Long to Cook Ribs in the Slow Cooker?
Always follow food safety guidelines, ensure the ribs reach a safe internal temperature. The cooking time for ribs in a slow cooker can vary depending on the size of the ribs and the temperature setting of your slow cooker. As a general guideline, you can cook the ribs on low heat for 6 to 8 hours or on high heat for 3 to 4 hours. Ensure the meat is tender and easily pulls away from the bone.
Can I Add Vegetables to the Slow Cooker with the Ribs?
Yes, you can add vegetables or potatoes to the slow cooker with the ribs. Root vegetables like carrots and potatoes work well and can absorb the flavors from the ribs and seasonings. You can place them in the slow cooker alongside the ribs, ensuring they are cut into appropriate sizes and cooking times are adjusted accordingly.
BBQ Recipes You'll Love
- Fall Off the Bone Oven Ribs
- Fast BBQ Pork Ribs
- Grilled Tomahawk Steak
- Greek Chicken Souvlaki
- Easy Grilled Zucchini
- Grilled Corn on the Cob
- Garlic Butter Green Beans
- Potato Bake with French Onion Soup
Slow Cooker Ribs are tender, convenient, and flavorful, making them a go-to recipe for delicious, stress-free meals. Whether you're a barbecue enthusiast or a busy home cook, this method will delight your taste buds. Bon Appetit! Приятного аппетита!
- Slow Cooker
- 2 racks baby back ribs (about 4 pounds or 2kg)
- 1½ cups BBQ sauce
- ½ cup brown sugar packed
- ½ cup Cajun spice
- Remove the membrane from the back of the ribs. Use a knife to lift the edge of the membrane and then grip it with a paper towel to pull it off.
- In a small bowl, mix the brown sugar and cajun spice together. Rrub the dry mixture generously over both sides of the ribs, ensuring they are well coated.
- Pour half of the barbecue sauce into the bottom of the slow cooker. Place the seasoned ribs into the slow cooker, standing them up on their sides with the meaty side facing out. If necessary, cut the racks in half to fit. Pour the remaining barbecue sauce over the top of the ribs, ensuring they are well coated.
- Cover the slow cooker with lid and cook on low heat for 7-8 hours or on high heat for 3-4 hours. The low and slow method will result in the most tender ribs.
- When the cooking time is up, transfer ribs to a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Brush generously with the cooked barbecue sauce from the slow cooker. Place under the broiler for 3-4 minutes, or until the sauce caramelizes and becomes slightly charred. Rest for a few minutes before serving.
©PetersFoodAdventures.com *originallly posted March 2019, updated May 2023